Buffalo Grove gives Pride flag a home at Rotary Village Green
The pride flag is flying in Buffalo Grove.
The location is different from the one next to village hall that Buffalo Grove Pride parade organizer Carolyn Pinta requested in January. But now it's prominently displayed on the Rotary Village Green, 265 N. Buffalo Grove, near the Town Center.
In a statement released Tuesday, the village said the flag was "provided by a young member of the community" who spoke at Monday night's committee of the whole meeting. It will fly for the remainder of June at the park.
The statement added that at the June 21 village board meeting, trustees will review current policies regarding the flying of flags at the Rotary Village Green and discuss guidelines for future requests.
Overall, Pinta -- whose family, including daughter Molly, organized the first Buffalo Grove Pride parade in 2019 -- was pleased with the choice.
"The spot that they chose is lovely for this year," she said. However, she added, "I am very disheartened that I had to do what I did in the last 24 hours to get us here."
Pinta was referring to her efforts to organize a rally of about 40 people outside village hall before Monday's village board meeting, then pack the council chambers to demand the village hoist the flag in honor of June as Pride month.
The crowd included many students from area schools, including Twin Groves Middle School and Stevenson High School, some of whom identified as gay or nonbinary.
Pinta said the village's gesture is a token one but "I'll take it."
She also said it was a lesson for the young people who spoke at the meeting.
"What an experience they have had, and now they get to see that that flag is up there," Pinta said. "They spoke up, and it worked. And that will teach them to persevere and that they can get something done that's important."
The village's alternate plan for the flag, announced Tuesday afternoon, was already in the works Monday.
"We truly wanted to do it," Village President Beverly Sussman said. "We meant it from our heart and not because people expected it of us. We really wanted to do it. Buffalo Grove is a very diverse place, and we are very thrilled that it is so diverse, and we care very much about the rights of every citizen."
But Sussman said the village also wanted to obey the constitution.
The village had not granted Pinta's request on the advice of counsel, citing legal and constitutional issues. Those issues were outlined by former Trustee Jeffrey Berman during the public comment period of Monday night's meeting -- the board was prevented by the Open Meetings Act from discussing a non-agenda item.
Berman, who said he supports LGBTQ+ rights and took part in Sunday's BG Pride Drive, said flying a flag representing an advocacy point of view on government property will convert the village flagpole to a public forum that could invite the presence of hate speech.
"If you open up the flagpole to the public, this week it could be a rainbow, next week it could be something much more sinister. A swastika. The stars and bars," he said.
Sussman said the Rotary location avoids that thorny issue. But she said it has other advantages as well.
"The Rotary Green was the perfect place to put it. It looks beautiful there. And people go to that park all the time," Sussman said. "There are benches there to sit on, and it's so nice to be there and stroll around, and they can see the Pride flag. So what could be better than that?"